Last Sunday I ran the Detroit Freepress International Half Marathon. It was one of the coolest races I’ve done so far and I am so thankful I was able to sign up for it. I touched on this a little in my race recap earlier, but it deserved a separate post of it’s own….
I am grateful to run again.
It’s no secret that I have been in a running funk lately. I just had zero motivation to run my long runs and follow a training plan for this half marathon, or any race for that matter. I don’t really know WHY it was happening, but it sucked.
Leading up to this race last weekend, I got the excitement back that I had been missing for so long. Maybe it was because it was a brand new [to me] race with such a unique route to cross country borders, or the fact that I hadn’t run a long run further than 6 miles since May….but whatever it was, I was excited. And I loved that!! I kept telling myself that I didn’t have a time goal and just wanted to enjoy the race.
And that was the truth! Sure, it would have been nice to finish under or around 2:45, but if that didn’t happen I wasn’t going to beat myself up for it. This race was about enjoyment. So as I was entering the 3rd mile onto the Ambassador Bridge, I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude and decided to focus on that for the rest of the race.
I. Am. Grateful.
I’m grateful because my body has the ability to run long distances.
I’m grateful because I was able to afford to sign up for this race.
I’m grateful because I live close enough to this race that I didn’t need to plan a big trip.
I’m grateful because I had the cool opportunity to RUN through two different countries in one day.
I am grateful because I finally feel comfortable with my mindset on running.
For so long I kept thinking that I had to run a certain pace to be considered a “real runner”. I thought that I always had to be striving to be better than before. And in most cases, yes, I WANT to be better than before. But I had an epiphany after the race that has truly shaped my outlook on running for here on out.
I am a runner. I am not fast or slow, I am a normal runner. I love to run. I run to get rid of stress, to feel better, to stay active, to help me lose weight, to just feel alive. Before Sunday, I had been so focused on trying to hit a personal record with every.single.race & training run that I do—THAT IS NOT WHAT YOU SHOULD FOCUS ON!!! Truly, it’s not. It’s great to have goals and to celebrate when you hit a milestone….but if you ONLY focus on that every time you go out for a run, then you will constantly be upset when you don’t hit that goal.
When I crossed the finish line on Sunday and realized that my time was 2:47:58, all I could do was smile. My best half marathon time is around 2:44—I ran a 2:39 last year, but the distance was not a full 13.1 miles so I don’t want to count it. So, in my mind I’ve always wanted to run less than 2:44 with any half marathon that I run from here on out. But on Sunday, I felt GOOD pretty much the whole race, and I walked about the same amount that I usually walk during all my half’s….and I finished only 3 minutes over my ‘goal’ time. Which shows me that 2:45(ish) is MY PACE. It is MY time that I feel good running, so why should I push it when I’m really not trying to break any records??
I am happy with my time. I am happy with my pace. I am happy with the fact that I have run TWELVE half marathons, and ONE full marathon. I have very little desire to run faster (I can’t say zero desire because at some points I do want to run faster, but that’s really not my overall goal, or even a big one anymore). I run for fun and enjoy racing new races and enjoying the experiences.
That is all I need in my life right now. No training plans. No big dream running goals. I’ll run when I feel like it—maybe 2-3 times a week, a few miles each—and keep focusing on building strength since that is where I am finding more joy right now. Clearly it’s working, because my pace is the same even though I never ran a ‘long’ run during this training cycle ;)